Notebook: Tszyu, Harrison different as can be but share same goal
HOFer Bobby Goodman dies; BetUS show; Yoka-Takam streaming details; Dib cancer free; Zepeda tabbed for Davis-Garcia PPV card; Zayas injured; Hurd cut update; Quick hits; Show and tell
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The differences in personality and demeanor between Tim Tszyu and Tony Harrison are stark but what they do have in common is the promise that they are coming to fight.
They will square off for the vacant WBO interim junior middleweight title on Saturday (Showtime, 10:45 p.m. ET) in a one-fight telecast from Qudos Bank Arena in Tszyu’s hometown of Sydney Australia, where it will be Sunday.
While Tszyu is generally reserved, low key and not a big talker, Harrison is the opposite of all of that. And while Tszyu arrived at their fight-week news conference on Friday in front of the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge and famed Sydney Opera House in a bright red Dodge Ram Viper V10 wearing a snazzy blue suit before taking his place on stage, Harrison did not make any sort of grand entrance.
He just strolled to the dais in sweat pants and yet another fight week activity without bothering to wear a shirt, which he said was because he “means business.”
“He got out of that car like a diva,” Harrison said, smiling at Tszyu and drawing laughs from the audience. “You had somebody open the door for you. Come on, man. He’s just different, man. But I’m not knocking him. I’m opposite. I got my head cocked to the side, he got a suit on. We’re just different; different personalities.
“I ain’t mad at it but what floats my boat floats mine and what floats his floats his. But Sunday we got to get in the same boat and let’s see who makes it off.”
Tszyu, the son of Hall of Fame former undisputed junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu, didn’t seem to take offense and simply said his life’s work in boxing had come down to this moment for the biggest fight of his career so far and the chance to maintain his position as the mandatory challenger for undisputed 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs).
Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs), 28, was scheduled to challenge Charlo on Jan. 28 in a Showtime main event at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas but the fight was canceled because Charlo fractured his left hand in two places during a sparring session. The Tszyu-Harrison winner is supposed to be Charlo’s opponent upon his return, likely this summer.
“All this diva stuff, coming in the car, I just roll with the punches, man,” Tszyu said. “All this other stuff, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Harrison then interjected: “I like him. I don’t think he knows how corny he is, but I like him though. That’s cool the way he rolled up. That’s him. I like it. I’m just different.”
Tszyu was a bit more on edge, telling the moderator,
“I don’t really like him right now. I’m ready to fight right now,” Tszyu said. “There’s no kisses and hugs happening. I’m coming to fight. There’s a dog in me right now. I’m a pit bull.”
Harrison, still smiling, told Tszyu, “All Australia loves me. I’m a hard guy not to love. It’s hard for you to say it right now.”
Tszyu, finally smiling at this point, admitted, “Tony’s a funny guy. He’s a good talker and he’s a banter-type guy and he’s got a bit of that comedian in him. Everyone’s different the way we do things personality wise. Let him be him, simple.”
Harrison (29-3-1, 21 KOs), 32, of Detroit, is the former WBC titleholder, handing Charlo his only loss to claim the belt via controversial decision in 2018 before being knocked out by Charlo in the 11th round a year later in December 2019.
Tszyu is well aware that Harrison has been stopped in all three of his defeats and promised to take him to deep waters and drown him yet again.
Harrison dismissed that.
“I already have visualized how this fight is coming,” Harrison said. “I think I know how this fight is going to play out, and I think the whole world knows how this fight plays out. For me, expect the unexpected. I know he expects me to do one thing, but expect the unexpected. I know we’re both going into war and it’s going to be a great fight.”
HOFer Bobby Goodman dies
Bobby Goodman, a Hall of Famer, who spent more than 50 years in boxing as a matchmaker, manager, publicist and executive, died Sunday after an illness that had him hospitalized in Galloway, New Jersey, for the past three months. He was 83.
Goodman spent 25 years working for Don King, including as his company’s vice president of boxing operations, matchmaker and publicist. He also worked for Madison Square Garden and Roy Jones Jr.’s Square Ring Promotions before retiring.
Goodman was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009, joining his father, the late renowned publicist Murray Goodman, who had been inducted years earlier.
Born on June 8, 1939 in Bronx, New York, Goodman grew up around boxing because of his father’s involvement and as a boy tagged along with him to training camps of fighters such as Joe Louis, Marcel Cerdan, Sugar Ray Robinson, Kid Gavilan, and Rocky Marciano.
He started working in the sport in 1952 assisting his father. After four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, he and his father formed their own firm in New York and handled public relations for bouts involving Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and Bob Foster as well as for events put on by King and Top Rank.
Goodman joined DKP as director of boxing and matchmaking in the mid-1970s until 1985. He then went to work for Madison Square Garden to head its boxing department, where he helped develop fighters such as James “Buddy” McGirt, Kevin Kelley, Junior Jones, Aaron Davis, Tom “Boom Boom” Johnson, Tracy Harris Patterson and Lonnie Bradley. After leaving MSG, Goodman founded his own company, Garden State Boxing. In 1996 he returned to DKP as vice president of boxing operations and public relations.
“Bobby Goodman was a great man, a dear friend and an asset to the sport of boxing,” King said. “He was a tireless worker and loved boxing and everyone who was a part of boxing. We will truly miss him and we send our deepest condolences to his entire family. The Lord giveth and the lord taketh away.”
In 2009, Goodman joined Square Ring as the COO.
“Boxing lost one of the sport’s most highly respected and dearly beloved executives,” said John Wirt, the Square Ring CEO, who worked with Goodman at DKP and then hired him at Square Ring.
Said Jones: “We have truly lost not just a good man but a great human being. While he’s been retired for a number of years, Bobby is known throughout the world as one of the good guys. He’ll be deeply missed.”
In 1979, Goodman won the James J. Walker Award for long and meritorious service from the Boxing Writers Association of America. He was inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009, the New York Boxing Hall of Fame in 2018 and the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame in 2019.
Goodman is survived by four daughters, nine grandchildren and a brother and sister.
BetUS Boxing Show
If you missed the BetUS Boxing Show, which we had to move to 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday this week on YouTube — we’ll be back at our usual 1 p.m. ET next Friday — please check out the replay (and also subscribe to the YouTube channel). We previewed and picked the three most notable main events on Saturday: Tim Tszyu against Tony Harrison for the vacant WBO interim junior middleweight title on Showtime; super middleweight prospect Diego Pacheco taking on Jack Cullen on DAZN and heavyweight Tony Yoka facing Carlos Takam on ESPN+. We also took viewer questions and comments! Please check out the show here:
Tony Yoka (11-1, 9 KOs), 30, the 2016 French Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist Tony Yoka will face former world title challenger Carlos Takam (39-7-1, 28 KOs), 42, of France, over 10 rounds on Saturday at Zenith Paris in Paris.
ESPN+ will stream live coverage of the card in the U.S. beginning at 2:45 p.m. ET.
Yoka is looking rebound from an upset majority decision loss to Martin Bakole in May while Takam is aiming to rebound from two losses in a row, including by knockout to Joe Joyce.
Also on the stream:
England’s Dan Azeez (18-0, 12 KOs) will face France’s Thomas Faure (21-4-1, 2 KOs) for the vacant European light heavyweight title.
Welsh welterweight Lauren Price (2-0, 1 KO), a 2020 Olympic gold medalist for Great Britain, fights Germany’s Naomi Mannes (6-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-rounder.
French middleweight Farrhad Saad (8-0-1, 0 KOs) meets England’s Macaulay McGowan (17-3-1, 3 KOs) over six.
Dib cancer free
Former IBF featherweight titleholder Billy Dib, 37, of Australia, who underwent surgery for colon cancer in October, announced on his social media this week that after going through chemotherapy he is cancer-free.
“Thanks to God, I received the most beautiful news today,” Dib wrote. “My scan came back clear of cancer. I am so grateful, blessed, happy and relieved. Thank you God, my health team, my family and all of you, for your prayers, encouragement and support to help me get here.”
Dib (48-6, 27 KOs) won the vacant IBF title by unanimous decision against Jorge Lacierva in 2011 and twice defended it. Dib also twice challenged for junior lightweight titles and has won three fights in a row since a knockout loss to Amir Khan in 2019.
Weights from Liverpool, England for Saturday’s Matchroom Boxing card on DAZN (2 p.m. ET): Diego Pacheco 166.1, Jack Cullen 167.8; Robbie Davies Jr. 139.1, Darragh Foley 139.6; Johnny Fisher 240.1, Alfonso Damiani 233.1; Peter McGrail 123.8, Nicolas Nahuel Botelli 123.1; Rhiannon Dixon 134.1, Vicky Wilkinson 132.1; Aqib Fiaz 134.7, Dean Dodge 132.1; Paddy Lacey 162.1, James McCarthy 160.1; Campbell Hatton 140.5, Michel Gonxhe 136.1; George Liddard 162.1, Daniel Przewieslik 161.1.
Lightweight contender William Zepeda (27-0, 23 KOs), 26, a southpaw from Mexico, will face an opponent to be determined in one of the televised undercard fights on the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia Showtime PPV card on April 22 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, a source with knowledge of the event told Fight Freaks Unite. Golden Boy, which is Zepeda’s promoter, has control of one of the televised undercard fights in the co-promotion with TGB Promotions/PBC. Zepeda is coming off his two most notable wins, decisions over former junior lightweight titleholders Joseph Diaz Jr. in October and Rene Alvarado in May.
Junior middleweight prospect Xander Zayas (15-0, 10 KOs), 20, a Puerto Rican from Sunrise, Florida, suffered a hand injury in training, which has forced him out of his fight with Ronald Cruz, which was scheduled as the co-feature on the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card on April 1 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Top Rank announced that Zayas is expected to return in June and that the 10-round featherweight bout between former world title challenger Joet Gonzalez (25-3, 15 KOs), 29, of Los Angeles, and Jose Enrique Vivas (22-2, 11 KOs), 28, of Montebello, California, will move up the card into the co-feature spot before the vacant WBO featherweight title bout between Robeisy Ramirez and Isaac Dogboe.
Former unified junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd told Fight Freaks Unite that his terribly cut lip is “getting better” but that he needed about 30 stitches to close the wound. The brutal laceration caused his middleweight fight against unheralded Mexican Armando Resendiz (14-1, 10 KOs), 24, to be stopped 5 seconds into the 10th round following an examination by the ringside doctor last Saturday night in the Showtime co-feature to Subriel Matias-Jeremias Ponce in Minneapolis. Hurd (24-3, 16 KOs), 32, of Accokeek, Maryland, who was coming off a 21-month layoff, lost his second fight in a row and for the third time in four bouts. He was trailing on all three scorecards when the action-packed slugfest was halted.
Former junior flyweight titlist Angel “Tito” Acosta (23-3, 22 KOs), 32, of Puerto Rico, will face Venezuela’s Angelino Cordova (17-0-1, 12 KOs), 27, in a 12-round flyweight bout that will headline Golden Boy’s “Fight Night” card on April 6 (DAZN, 9 p.m. ET) at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, Golden Boy announced Friday.
The WBA has outlined the particulars for is junior welterweight title schedule, sending letters to the teams of the five fighters involved. The WBA said in the letter that after titleholder Alberto Puello makes a voluntary defense against Rolando Romero on May 13 (Showtime) the winner must next face mandatory challenger Ismael Barroso within 90 days. Ohara Davies, who knocked out Lewis Ritson this past Saturday, is the next mandatory challenger with the fight due within nine months of the Puello-Romero winner facing Barroso. “No special permits will be allowed unless the parties have valid causes for it,” the WBA wrote.
Panya Pradabsri (39-1, 23 KOs), 32, of Thailand, will defend the WBC strawweight title for the fourth time when he faces Japanese southpaw Yudai Shigeok (6-0, 4 KOs), 25, on April 16 at the Yoyogi Second National Gymnasium in Tokyo, Kameda Promotions announced this week. Pradabsri has held the 105-pound belt since a unanimous decision over countryman Wanheng Menayothin in November 2020. Also on the card, southpaw strawweight Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6 KOs), 23, Yudai’s brother, faces former titlist Rene Cuarto (21-3-2, 12 KOs), 26, of the Philippines, for the vacant IBF interim title. It was made available because titlist Daniel Valladares is sidelined due to a torn eardrum. He will be mandated to face the winner upon his return. Ginjiro Shigeoka fought to a three-round no contest with Valladares in a Jan. 6 title fight that ended with Valladares unable to continue due to a terrible accidental head butt.
Show and tell
After Evander Holyfield became the undisputed cruiserweight champion he moved up to heavyweight and eventually became undisputed champion in a second division. But Holyfield’s success as a heavyweight was anything but a given. Most questioned whether his lack of size would allow him to be successful against the big guys. He scored knockouts in his first two heavyweight bouts against James “Quick” Tillis and former titlist Pinklon Thomas but then came what was supposed to be his first serious test against former titleholder Michael Dokes, who had won 11 fights in a row since losing the WBA belt.
They met at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in a Showtime-televised main event and put on a helluva fight. It was a slugfest all the way. Dokes lost a point for low blows in the sixth round when Holyfield opened a cut over his left eye. In the 10th round, Holyfield hurt Dokes with two left hooks during an onslaught that sent him reeling into the ropes before following with a punishing right hand that dropped him as referee Richard Steele rushed in to stop the fantastic fight. It was a violent conclusion to a battle so outstanding that it was named as the best heavyweight fight of the 1980s by The Ring magazine. The fight was on March 11, 1989 — 34 years ago on Saturday. Here is the program in my collection.
Goodman photo: International Boxing Hall of Fame; Pacheco-Cullen photo: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing
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Holyfield-Dokes is one of my favorite HW fights, and it rarely gets the attention it deserves as a rewatchable fight. Good call Dan.
And you gotta love the billing of the Continental Americas Championship... such prestige : )